Tag Archives: scottish liberal democrats autumn conference.

Scottish Conference to debate faith schools

The agenda for Scottish Conference in Dunfermline on 8th September has been published.

The party leadership will want the headlines to be about the motion on education which aims to improve teachers’ pay and working conditions and reward those who take on the most challenging jobs or go to the furthest flung areas of Scotland.

It may well be overshadowed by the debate on faith schools. Or rather a motion which calls for “a single, secular model of state-funded education.” We can expect some amendments for that one, which is the most controversial motion on the agenda. I hope that we can have as good a quality of debate as we had in York last year on the English motion.

Two motions ask for support for little understood and debilitating conditions, ADHD and ME.

Another motion calls for an overhaul of the way we finance public infrastructure projects but doesn’t really suggest a sustainable alternative.

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WATCH: Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Conference

Here is Willie Rennie’s speech to Scottish Conference.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, here are a few highlights:

On Lib Dem values:

We stand with the weak against the strong, and will use the power of government to tackle the social and economic injustices that limit freedom.

We say power is safer when it is shared and will trust communities and individuals with the power to control their own lives.

We are trustees of our world, and our society, and must pass on a sustainable legacy which will benefit future generations.

Hammering the Tories:

Well, we know that the Scottish Conservatives are the Baked Alaska of politics.

Apparently warm, fluffy and attractive on the outside.

But when you cut it open you find an ice cold heart.

That went down well in the room, but the slight flaw in the logic is that Baked Alaska is delicious.

There was a strong section on tax, described as “pickpocketing” by the Tories:

Is it theft to invest in building the best education system in the world?

Is it pickpocketing to provide the social care for those in need?

Is it a crime to want to create a fairer society?

I tell you that this is no time for narrow, selfish Conservatives.

For care, for education, for a fairer society this is the time for Liberal Democrats to stand up and be counted for the greater good.

Alex Salmond’s decision to do a show on Russian propaganda channel Russia Today came in for some serious and not so serious commentary:

Good afternoon conference.

Or dobryj dyen to Mr Salmond.

Actually, conference, I don’t want to joke about it.

Russia is undermining western democracy.

They undermined the campaign of President Macron.

Attacked Chancellor  Merkel.

We first heard about them when we found out they had undermined Hillary Clinton.

When we met here a year ago people were grief-stricken that the first woman to run for President was defeated in the way that she was.

So it is a disgrace that Alex Salmond has decided to supplement his First Minister’s pension by legitimising a Russian organisation whose mission is to undermine western democracy. It’s a disgrace.

He really went after the Brexiteers on immigration:

Boris Johnson should explain why world class university research is on the wane because researchers have moved to other parts of the world.

Nigel Farage should tell shoppers why they can’t get home grown fruit, fish and veg in our shops because we don’t have enough people to grow them.

Theresa May should tell you why you can’t have a carer for your elderly mother, or why you have to wait weeks to see your GP because they have all gone back to Europe.

And Jeremy Corbyn should come and tell you why public services are being cut because we have fewer workers paying tax to fund these vital services.

When all of this happens, you can point to every leader who backed Brexit in the full knowledge of the price of Brexit but didn’t have the courage to stand up and be counted.

And he showed the right kind of humility and willingness to listen on sexual harassment:

Some people ask women – “why did you not mention anything before?”

Let me put this as politely as I can: communication requires listening as well as talking.

Maybe they haven’t been listening.

So instead of all the excuses let’s all make sure we are listening now.

This is not nothing.

This is not the fault of women.

This is our opportunity to listen.

Listen to the decades of frustration and anger.

Listen.

And if we listen, we will change.

Enjoy the whole thing:

The text is below:

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Scottish Conference to discuss WASPI women, Exit from Brexit, mental health and gender neutral school uniform

Scottish Lib Dem Autumn Conference takes place next Saturday, 11th November, in Dunfermline.

There are keynote speeches from Willie Rennie and Jo Swinson and a dazzling array of debates and policy motions.

The Scottish Young Liberals have provided some excellent motions on getting young people more involved in shaping public services and on civil education. Also, a young member has independently put forward a motion calling for gender neutral school uniform.

Christine Jardine MP and Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP put forward West Edinburgh’s motion to support women affected by changes to the State Pension age.

Housing standards and mental health provision for rural areas will also be debated. 

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